Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The island of Little Ross is up for sale

I’m always intrigued to see how often small islands around Scotland come up for sale – even more so when I think that I could maybe sell up everything (and I really mean EVERYTHING) and maybe have the one of the cheapest for myself.

Then stuff like ‘Cost of ownership’ and ‘Reality’ (not to mention ‘Eating’) start to appear – and I stop having such foolish thoughts.

Liken it to buying a second-hand (or even a new) Ferrari – you might get it home and enjoy looking at it, but for most ‘ordinary’ folk, the first year would probably ruin them with the various running costs if they actually drove it too. And don’t even think about the pain of any repair costs if warranty or insurance did not apply.

But back to the island.

On offer is the island of Little Ross, with offers over £325,000 being invited.

It will be interesting to see if it sells, as the trend has (for the ones I’ve eyed up, and the sale info has not been kept private) been for them to hang around for a while, not sell for ages, or have their price dropped to help them along – or they do sell, but the details are held private, with hints that the price was not changed (much).

The lighthouse tower – which is not included in the sale – was designed and built by Alan Stevenson at the mouth of Kirkcudbright Bay to close the gap between other lighthouses at the Mull of Galloway and Southerness. and first lit in 1843.

It was manned until 1960.


Little Ross

Complete with history of murder

In this case, the island comes with an interesting history.

In 1960, the lighthouse keeper was killed by a colleague.

Keeper Hugh Clark was found dead on the island and his assistant Robert Dickson was later tried and found guilty of his murder.


Keepers’ houses

The listing includes a six-bedroom, B-listed cottage and courtyard which is next to an operational lighthouse tower which is not part of the deal.

Via: Little Ross lighthouse island up for sale

It’s a bargain compared to a castle

Looking at recent news, I spotted a castle up for sale, for mere £3.75 million.

Admittedly, Glenborrodale Castle actually includes TWO isolated islands (Risga and Eilean an Feidh)along with its 16 bedrooms, not forgetting the tennis court, gym and sauna, commercial kitchen, games room, boat house with jetty, and of course, live-in accommodation for your staff.

But a look at recent castle sales and stories show they are just a liability, bringing annual maintenance bills which will (like the apparently desirable Ferrari mentioned at the start) soon cripple you financially.

But, if you have your own oil-well, or a Facecrook page, you might be interested…

Dream home: Highland castle goes on the market for £3.75m



July 15, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Scottish lighthouse keeper dies

A Scottish ‘Last’, with news of the recent death of the last Scottish lighthouse keeper.

Angus Hutchison, MBE, was the last lighthouse keeper in Scotland, and when he left the last manned lighthouse on Fair Isle (between Orkney and Shetland) in 1998, his departure marked the end of a 200-year tradition.

Fair Isle was automated on 31 March, 1998.

Mr Hutchison was keeper there for 36 years. The last light to be automated, it is now controlled (as are some 200 lights around the Scottish coast) from Edinburgh, by the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB). The light still operates on Fair Isle, and its character consists of 4 white flashes every 30 seconds. It can be seen from at least as far as Orkney, about 25 miles away. Fair Isle is also notable as being  the last to have its foghorn dismantled, in 2005, and all are now silent. So, this passing actually marks a number of Scottish ‘Lasts’.

Lighthouses were targets during World War II, despite being dark for the duration, they could still be activated for special purposes, such as providing navigation aids to convoys or aircraft:

The Fair Isle South lighthouse has endured some of Scotland’s fiercest weather and wartime bombing raids in its 100-year history. During an air attack in December 1941 the wife of an assistant keeper was killed and her baby daughter injured. Six weeks later the wife and daughter of the principal keeper were killed in a second attack.

Via Scotland’s last lighthouse keeper dies aged 75 – Heritage –

See also Northern Lighthouse Board – Fair Isle South

Fair Isle south lighthouse

Fair Isle South Light by jejoenjeM via flickr by CC

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Maritime, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bell Rock Lighthouse reaches bicentenary in 2011

The Bell Rock Lighthouse lies in the sea off Arbroath, some 11 miles (18 km) from the town’s harbour, and was completed in 1811.

2011 marks the bicentenary of the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse, 115 feet (35 m) tall, designed by Robert Stevenson, and built by the effort of many local men, with the chief engineer being named as John Rennie.

Officials in Arbroath have organised a year of celebrations and a series of events called Year of the Light to commemorate the light, and will include a spectacular firework display, a yacht regatta, and a memorial service to those who lost their lives on the Bell Rock over the centuries.

David Taylor, whose great-great-great-grandfather Captain David Taylor was closely involved in the construction of the lighthouse, said the Bell Rock reef claimed countless vessels before the light was completed, saying ‘Following the great storm of 1799 on the east coast of Scotland, at least 70 vessels came to grief, if not on the Bell Rock itself, certainly on the neighbouring shores trying to avoid it. However, it wasn’t until 1806 – and not before the loss of the 64-gun man-of-war HMS York with all hands on board in 1804 – that permission to build the lighthouse was finally granted.’

Construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse was arduous to say the least. The reef it was to be built was submerged for much of the day, and work was severely restricted by the weather and the seasons. At high water, the reef is hidden about 12 feet below the water, and at low water, it stands 4 feet above. Storms meant that it was really on practical to work between April and October because the winter months were so stormy. Despite these problems, the lighthouse was completed in four years, becoming operational on February 1, 1811.

Bell Rock Lighthouse © Copyright Derek Robertson

Bell Rock Lighthouse in 2005 © Derek Robertson

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Maritime, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

St Kilda lighthouse debate

A few weeks ago, we noted the demise of a trawler, the Spinningdale, on one of the islands in the St Kilda archipelago, and that the decision had been made by the NTS to leave the wreck there until at least 2009 – having cleared it of potential contaminants – to avoid causing further damage in a recovery attempt.

The decicion to leave the wreck, rather then clear it immediately, attracted possible adverse comment, but made sense as it reflected the fact that wrecks are natural hazards and happen over the course of time. Like it or not.

There’s another potential source of controversy on the horizon now, as North Uist councillor Archie Campbell has called for the construction of a lighthouse on the archipelago. Mr Campbell said that with the recent reinstatement of lights on the Monach Islands, west of North Uist, the next step was for one on St Kilda. However, he also noted that the Northern Lighthouse Board had considered the idea, but that there were objections from conservationists.

We can’t find any references to a light being established anywhere on St Kilda in the past, so there’s no precedent for installing one, and with today’s navigation systems, it seems a bit late to think about installing one there now. While we do have the current grounding to consider, under circumstances we’ve not been made aware of, St Kilda does not appear to have a trail of wrecks around its shores, so is not really a location one would immediately think of as justifying the cost and environmental disruption that would be added by its installation.

I’m afraid this smacks of something that looks more of an attempt to make some opportunistic political milage, rather than deal with an actual hazard.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Maritime | , , , | Leave a comment


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